Breaking Down Team Investment In The NFL

The investment series tracks how franchises assemble their teams by applying the two major resources available: cap space and draft picks. By looking at average salary and quantifying draft value according to the draft trade value chart, ITP senior writer Dave Archibald can analyze how general managers build their teams. Dave breaks down team investment in each position group, how that investment correlates to success, and other issues related to roster construction.

“Dead” Draft Value

“Dead money” is wasted money that counts against the salary cap but is paid to players no longer on the roster. Teams also waste draft picks on players that cannot stick on the team throughout their rookie contracts. We attempt to measure this “dead draft value” and look at teams that have unusually high or low amounts of it.

Quarterback Investment

The large salaries that NFL signal-callers have doesn’t always pay off in on-field production. We look at variations in spending and draft capital expended at the game’s most vital position. We also look at the highest-paid backups, notable trades, and costly cuts.

Running Back Investment

Running back is historically a glamour position but seems to be devalued in recent seasons. We look at which teams are trying to fill the position on the cheap and which are spending heavily – and whether throwing money or draft picks at the position yields results. We also look at teams that build “two-headed monsters” with heavy investment in multiple players, and at spending on fullbacks.

Offensive Line Investment

We review how teams allocate their salary and draft value to offensive linemen and whether that translates into success based on Football Outsiders OL metrics. We compare average investment by position along the line and how teams differ in investing in the various line positions. We also explore injures along the offensive line.

ITP Podcast Volume 1.7

Dave joins hosts Mark Schofield and Chuck Zodda to discuss the investment series and interesting findings related to quarterback, running back, and offensive line investment. He recaps what he has learned so far and speculates as to future endeavors. This podcast also features Week 7 news, Week 8 previews, and special guest Alex J. Kirby.

Wide Receiver Investment

We look at team spending in salary and draft picks on the players who catch passes. We take a look at players who outperform their salary or draft status, and which are disappointments. We also examine recent draft trends and whether teams are placing an increasing emphasis on pass catchers.

Tight End Investment

We look at the teams that are spending big on tight ends, both in salary and draft picks, and the teams that are filling the position inexpensively. Big investment doesn’t always translate to success, even in the red zone. Some teams have two tight ends that play a big role, which we look at that as well.

ITP Podcast Volume 1.11

Dave joins Mark and Chuck to discuss the investment series and how teams are spending on tight ends and on offense in general. The crew also breaks down the Week 11 games, chats with special guest Dan Syed, and provides their Thanksgiving tips.

Offensive Summary

Having examined each of the offensive position groups individually, we put the numbers together to look for general trends. We examine overall spending and correlations with various metrics in an effort to determine if the NFL’s most successful teams show any clear patterns.

Follow us on Twitter @ITPylon.

Inside The Pylon covers the NFL and college football, reviewing the film, breaking downmatchups, and looking at the issues, on and off the field.

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